✔ It's all about passion! - Introduction [part 1]

Note: This is an excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!"

The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

It's all about passion - cover

Introduction: My first passionate startup, Part 1

"People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you're doing. It's totally true. The reason is, because it's so hard and if you don't, any rational person would give up. It's really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don't love it, if you're not having fun doing it, you don't really love it, you're gonna give up.

It happens to most people actually. If you look at the ones that ended up being successful in the eyes of society and the ones that didn't, often times the ones that were successful loved what they did so they could persevere when it got really tough. The ones that didn't love it, quit. Because they're sane, right? Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don't love it. So it's a lot of hard work and it's a lot of worrying constantly and if you don't love it you're gonna fail. So you gotta love it and you gotta have passion."

  • Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple

New college, new passion-seeking adventure...

The fall of 2000 in Germany was chilly, but it wasn’t unbearable. I showed up a few weeks before the new college year started to get to know my new school, new dorm and new city. There I was, a day-long drive away from my home town in Poland, excited to be able to continue my management studies abroad. Just this summer, right before the big move, I finally earned enough money to buy my first laptop computer - a 266 MHz Pentium II Compaq Armada. With my all-new PC, a German dictionary and lots of hopes and dreams, I was ready to start my new adventure and learn new things at this foreign university.

When I settled in my student dormitory and connected my laptop to the local University network, I was literally blown away by the speed of the Internet. Being used to a dial-up modem at home, it was like entering a different league. The applications I immediately downloaded and started using were the Opera browser (the fastest browser on earth at that point), Napster (free music!) and ICQ (to chat with fellow students as well as friends and family back home).

How do I find my passion? My calling? My raison de vivre?

You see, at high school I was miserable because most of my friends knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives (they wanted to become doctors, lawyers, teachers... you get the idea) and I had no clue. Even worse - I was a very good student - I basically had grades A at everything - but I wasn't "great" at anything. I was just a very good all-arounder. It may sound cool now, but it wasn't helping me decide what I wanted to do with my life.

I knew I liked computers. My father was servicing IBM PC-compatible machines and I fell in love with these babies. But had no clue how computers would help me find my calling just yet. I also liked learning languages. My high school, although located in Poland, had English as the language of instruction and my second foreign language was German. Computers and languages. And traveling. That's pretty much all I knew about myself after graduating from high-school.

My father wanted me to become an engineer but I simply wasn't sure it was something for me. So I chose to go for Business Management Studies at our local university. It was a popular degree and it offered a very broad education, with lots of different things to learn. It was like high-school, but in college. I didn't lose interest in languages and travel. Within the first two years of my studies I managed to convince one of the German universities to accept me as a "guest student" and in the fall of 2000 I traveled to Germany. Initially for just a semester... but in the end I finished my degree there.

Professors at my new university were brilliant. They had lots of experience in real business. They encouraged us to use the Internet for our research and made us create PowerPoint presentations for the class. I’ve always been a computer geek but never thought of my laptop as a serious work machine until I arrived to that uni.

Languages, computers and travel...

My studies in Germany fostered my interests in languages (German and English), computers (programming and the Internet) and travel (I was far away from my home town after all). And entrepreneurship (I was studying business with some really great professors). It all started to make sense to me. At least a little more than before.

I used to like building things on the computer with code. Now I was more motivated than ever. I got back to coding and learning PHP and MySQL in the evenings. With all the tutorials and code snippets available online it was easy. I reconnected with my best friend Victor from my university in Gdansk (Poland). We chatted a lot over ICQ and started brainstorming the idea of a web-based application that we could offer to people all around the world for a small subscription fee. The idea of building an "online product" and offering it to the world sounded very exciting. I started discovering a very entrepreneurial part of myself.

To be continued... or get the book free and continue reading :-)

Question: How did you develop your interests? When did you start discovering your passion?

Posted on Friday, August 8, 2014 (passionbook)

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